In the spring of 2012, HEART reached out to Save the Chimps to ask them what HEART students could do to help the rescued chimpanzees who live at the sanctuary. Save the Chimps and HEART then embarked on an experiment of sorts: to create a toy the kids could make that the chimps would love.
The result? Paper mâché balls we send to the sanctuary, and the sanctuary then fills with treats for the chimps. We were pleased to find out, the chimps loved the brightly decorated ‘chimpiñatas’!
Before the kids got their hands dirty with paper mâché, they learned about the lives of the residents at the sanctuary. Some were kept as pets before they grew too big and strong to live in private homes. Others were freed after spending years of their lives as test subjects for research. No matter how heartbreaking the story, they all have a happy ending. These chimps are put into small groups (mimicking how they would live in the wild), given their own private island, enrichment activities, veterinary care, safety, and the freedom to live their lives free from suffering. By the time the students make the chimpiñatas, they feel as if they know the chimps at the sanctuary. An afterschool club at PS 36 even wrote the chimps letters to send along with the toys.
Happily, this isn’t an activity limited to HEART students. Any teacher can make these chimpiñatas and send them to Save the Chimps. Watch the video on how to make them here.
You can also educate the kids about some of the chimps and how they arrived at the sanctuary. See their full stories by clicking on their names on the website.
We know this is an activity we’ll keep doing. In fact, we have a fresh shipment ready to go from our campers at the Have a Heart summer camp!